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Contest Glossary

Common Contesting Terms

For a complete up-to-date list of all terms as maintained by Patrick Barkey, N9RV - courtesy Contest University - see


  • 10-minute rule

    Refers to a limit on the number of band changes permitted in an hour or how long a station is required to operate on a band after making a band change.

  • Alligator

    A station whose signal is loud but cannot hear calling stations well.

  • Bonus

    Extra points added to a score for making a specific type of contact, for contacting specific stations, or operating in a specified way.

  • Breakdown

    A table showing the contacts and multipliers worked on each band.

  • Busted

    An incorrect spot, call sign or exchange.

  • Cabrillo

    A log format specification.


    See Cabrillo Forms and Tutorial

  • Checklog

    Submitted logs that are only used in the log checking process and are not listed in the results for competitive purposes.

  • Cut Numbers

    Letter abbreviations for Morse numerals, such as N for 9 A for 1, T for zero, and so forth.

  • DQ

    Disqualification as the result of rules violation.

  • Dupe

    Duplicate contact, a station that has been worked before and can't be contacted again for point credit.

  • Exchange

    The information that must be exchanged in a contest contact.

  • Hired gun

    A guest operator, usually referring to someone highly skilled.

  • Hold

    In reference to a frequency to maintain a presence on a frequency by calling CQ.

  • HP, LP, QRP

    High Power; Low Power; Very low power below 5 watts average output power.

  • LCR

    Log Checking Report, the output of the log checking process for a submitted log.

  • MO, MS, MM, M2

    Multi-Operator; Multi-Operator, Single Transmitter; Multi-Operator, Multi-Transmitter; Multi-Operator, Two Transmitter

  • Move

    To coordinate a change to another band to contact station for additional multiplier credit.

  • Mult

    Shorthand for multiplier.

  • Not In the Log (NIL)

    A contact that can not be cross-referenced to an entry in the log of the station with which the contact is claimed.

  • Off-time

    Enforced periods of non-operation during a contest.

  • Packet

    General term for the spotting network, originally implented via packet radio links.

  • Penalty

    QSO points removed during the log checking process in response to errors.

  • QSO points

    The point credit for a specific contact.

  • Rate

    The equivalent number of stations that would be worked in an hour based on various time periods (last hour, last 10 minutes, last 10 stations, last 100 stations, and so forth).

  • Robot

    A software program that processes logs submitted by e-mail.


    See Robot Guidelines

  • Rover

    A mobile station that operates while in motion or from multiple locations in a contest.

  • Run

    To work stations by calling CQ; a run also means a steady stream of callers in response to CQs.

  • Search-and-Pounce (S&P)

    The technique of tuning for stations to work instead of calling CQ.

  • Serial number

    The sequential number of the contact in the contest -- first contact, second contact, 199th contact, and so forth.


    Single Operator; Single Operator, All-Band; Single Operator, Single-Band

  • SPC or S/P/C

    State, Province, and Country (referring to DXCC entities); the most common three location-based types of multipliers.

  • Spot

    An announcement of a station's call and frequency via a spotting network. A "SPOT" contains at minimum a "call sign", "operating frequency", and "time" (either explicit or implied).

  • Spotting network

    The interconnected system of sources of spots, consisting of Web pages, TELNET ports, and packet radio systems

  • Sprint

    A short contest, usually six hours or less.

  • Sunday driver

    Casual contest participants who appear late in the contest (usually Sunday afternoon) to make a few contacts

  • UBN

    Unique, Busted, Not In Log; the three ways in which a contest QSO can be judged to be invalid. A summary of these can be found in a UBN Report, issued by some contest sponsors to their participants. ARRL issues this list of UBN's to participants in most ARRL Contests in a Log Checking Report.

  • Unique

    A call sign that was not in any other submitted log.


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